“You’re position in the company is of little value,” he said indifferently neither in attempt to injure or blame but merely in the tone of stating a situational fact as he’d say to another man, ‘you’ll always be worthless you can’t help it. It’s in your blood.’ Or to be more scientific, your conditioned that way.
The role of Technical Communicator, Product Content Creator, Usability Specialists, etc. haven’t always been the fastest path to the executive suite. In fact, those that seek those levels of Management typically divert into other roles. That’s because Technical Communication roles are not seen as strategic.
Perception is that they don’t contribute to revenue or cut costs. Most executives don’t even realize the importance of documentation. It’s just not what they think about when they consider the strategic aspects of a go to market plan. Sorry, it’s true.
“Here is the raw, unvarnished truth: If you want to make a life as a technical writer, you must sustain yourself by your enjoyment of writing, because you cannot get any satisfaction from your work any other way. For you there will not be the kinds of rewards that others can expect. Raises, promotions, company perks of some kind – forget them. You won’t see them. Technical writing will always pay significantly less than engineering or a type of work that is more central to the company’s business.” Tom Johnson’s I’d Rather Be Writing (Guest Post by Keith Hood)
So is Keith right? No. At least not anymore. There are now many ways to break the paper ceiling. There’s more opportunity and chance for career enhancements then ever before. It’s right before you.
Because of the Enterprise 2.0 tools and solutions available, you now have the ability to turn your product/service documentation into large communities, sources of revenue, a cost reduction tool and centers of learning. There are companies doing it today. This is not pie in the sky stuff.
In fact, as you begin to learn more about this recent phenomenon made possible by Enterprise 2.0 tools, you’ll see more potential than you ever thought possible for your future.
Your job is to learn more about it. Learn how other companies are using these new tools and learn how companies are turning to their product documentation to jump start their communities instead of starting from scratch.
Are you going to climb ladders or allow your career to slide into obscurity? Do you want to be seen as incredibly strategic to your organization or just another replaceable pawn?
I know what I’d want.
(Cross-posted @ Seek Omega )